by | Jul 9, 2021

Our research was recently covered in an article by Andrea Tolu in Food Quality and Safety magazine called “Shelf Life and the Clean Label Movement”. Tolu dives into consumer demand for more “natural” ingredients in their food and beverages, and how manufacturers are taking steps to keep up with clean label preservative technology.

Food Ingredients and the Consumer

First, the article explores how consumers pay attention to the ingredient lists on their foods, and quotes Greg Stucky, InsightsNow’s Chief Research Officer. “Our data shows that the length of the ingredients list is only about half as important [to consumers] as having recognizable names. A short list with artificial ingredients is more likely to be rejected [by the consumer] than a long list with no artificial ingredients.”

Going Natural—What it Takes

Tolu goes on to explore how manufacturers are working at replacing chemical-sounding ingredients with natural ones and what is working best both for the food itself and with consumers. Running the gamut from rosemary extracts to fermentation to plant-based meat to preservatives, the article digs into different approaches to work toward achieving clean label products and preserving shelf-life. 

Getting Strategic

When the piece loops back around to being strategic about reformulations. Since changes to meet clean label demands—while preserving shelf-life—can be costly, manufacturers must plan carefully and think about how they are moving forward in this space. Tolu asks: “Wouldn‘t it be better just to explain to consumers that a chemical is a chemical, whether it comes from a natural source or not, and that natural ingredients are not necessarily good for our health, while artificial ones are not necessarily bad?” But InsightsNow’s CEO Dave Lundahl shares that education may not be the best strategy right now and quotes our study where 77% of surveyed consumers stated that they are aware that some natural ingredients can be bad for their health. The problem is that people today don’t always trust large food companies, and consumers are skeptical.

But, as we know, the growing clean label trend cannot be ignored. The article goes on to refer to our study data to see what food and beverage areas are most scrutinized by consumers for clean label, and what choices consumers are making regarding ingredients and claims.

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